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Miami Criminal Defense Blog

What's a personal digital criminal legacy?

The days when a white collar criminal could serve their sentence, quietly redeem themselves and move on are long gone. Today, a white collar criminal conviction is likely to leave you with a lasting "personal digital criminal legacy" that won't go away. Even worse, your family may suffer the same fate, strictly by association.

New research from the University of Portsmouth indicates that the online media coverage of white collar crimes is damaging the ability of those convicted to recover and reintegrate into society. Essentially, researchers found that many people convicted of white collar crimes were unable to resume productive lives because they were perpetually haunted by the news coverage of their crimes and trials. All it took for someone to learn about their past was a quick Google search.

Internet attack that went virtually unnoticed gets prison term

A 33-year-old Akron, Ohio, man just found out the hard way that you can get in serious trouble for an internet crime -- even if you weren't very good at it.

The self-styled hacker tried to disrupt several government websites, including the Department of Defense, the Department of the Treasure and NATO. He was so generally bad at it that the major security firms protecting those sites didn't know he existed until after his arrest. The only website he did manage to disrupt (a little) was the city of Akron's public website, particularly the part used by the city's police department.

What is a charge of public corruption?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) considers public corruption to be a top investigative priority -- but what exactly is it? Why is public corruption so important for the federal government to pursue?

Public corruption involves a serious abuse of power or breach of trust by any federal, state or local government employee. It can (and frequently does) involve people in the private sector as well because of the nature of the crime. Public corruption can involve things like:

  • Bribing a public official or accepting a bribe as a public official for any reason
  • Ethical violations, including ignoring conflicts of interest or using public money on personal needs
  • Law enforcement corruption, such as when an officer takes a bribe to overlook drug transactions or when officers participate in a "shakedown" of suspects for cash and drugs
  • Election fraud, such as tampering with a ballot

Is there less white collar crime than before?

Aside from a few very high-profile cases (like the "college admission scandal" that has caught numerous celebrities and well-placed parents up in its wake), you may be hearing far less about white collar crime than you once did -- but that probably isn't because it isn't happening. It may just be that they're not being prosecuted quite as often.

The prosecution of white collar crimes was a huge priority for the Department of Justice back in the high-flying 1980s and during the heady days of the dot-com explosion in the 1990s. There were around 10,000 prosecutions for white collar criminal activity every year.

Does it matter if you didn't know something was illegal?

You've probably heard the phrase, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse," a time or two in your life. Detectives and investigators certainly like to repeat it often enough when they want to take a hard-line approach to a potential defendant.

Well, like most sayings, that's not entirely true. The maxim evolved as a way of making people understand that they couldn't just get out of trouble by claiming that they had no idea they were breaking the law. Some crimes, like statutory rape, fall under strict liability laws that utterly fail to account for what the defendant did or didn't know. Many other laws, however, take the defendant's mens rea, or mental state, into account when deciding guilt over various crimes, including many of those on the federal level.

Pain doctor jailed for taking bribes to prescribe drugs

Do speaking fees equal bribery? Prosecutors may think so.

One of five New York doctors charged in 2018 with taking bribes from an Arizona-based pharmaceutical company has been sentenced to two years in federal prison by a United States District Court judge.

Meth seizures are on the rise

Drug seizures, and drug use of all sorts, like cocaine, fentanyl, and methamphetamine are on the rise, but meth seizures specifically are surging.

Meth and crystal meth use can do significant short-term and long-term damage to the body. Other than the use of dirty needles, meth puts the body into hyper-speed, creating a false sense of energy and security. This false security leads to physical actions that can damage the body, as well as physical and mental breakdowns as the high wears off.

Similar crimes, different punishments: The role of mitigation

How can two or more people be guilty of the same offense, yet receive different sentences? It's often due to the degree of culpability involved and mitigation.

Take, for example, the college admissions scandal that's been in the news. Wealthy parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, paid to secure spots for their children in different universities of their choice through various means of deception. Some parents paid to have their children's college entrance exams fixed. Others paid to have coaches draft their students for a college team -- even though the student didn't play the sport.

Florida and feds are cracking down on drug traffickers

Florida authorities and those in the federal government are aggressively pursuing drug traffickers these days. According to news reports, there have been at least four significant drug trafficking arrests in the state since July.

The haul from three regular busts and an undercover sting operation, when compared to some of the mega-busts that you see on the news these days, isn't that large. It netted authorities:

  • Nine arrests, including three United States citizens and six Mexican nationals
  • Total cash of $250,000 that was presumably intended to be used to buy cocaine
  • Forty pounds of methamphetamine
  • Four pounds of heroin

Criminal prosecutions of immigration crimes are increasing

In large part, the current presidential administration has set the official tone and the message is clear: Immigration crimes are to be pursued aggressively by federal prosecutors. It probably surprises nobody that 2018 saw a significant increase in people being arrested and prosecuted for what would have once been considered minor immigration offenses (like entering the country illegally).

Here are some of the most relevant statistics about the issue:

  • There were more people arrested for immigration offenses in 2018 than any other year in two decades.
  • In 2017, only 58,031 people were charged with immigration offenses.
  • In 2018, that number shot up to 108,667 arrests, which represents an 87% increase over the previous year.
  • The percentage of people actually prosecuted on immigration charges also rose 66% in that same time period.
  • In the Media:
  • abc Nightline
  • the O Reilly Factor
  • Court TV
  • abc 20 20
  • CNN
  • Larry King Live
  • The Miami Herald
  • Good Morning America

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